How to brush your dog's teeth

Friday, 23 October 2009 11:10 by Dr. Sarah

While many people like the smell of puppy breath, the same can’t be said for “Dog breath”. It’s almost universally considered as eye-stingingly unpleasant. This phrase has even been used as a play-ground insult! While it’s a joke to some, when you look at the science behind foul panting, it’s clear that bad breath is anything but funny.

In fact, bad breath is epidemic, affecting four out of five companion animals over the age of three. Additionally, this condition could be a sign of dental disease, which can lead to health consequences throughout the whole body, not just in the mouth. As some veterinarians have rightly noted, infections of the gums and teeth can spread to other parts of the body, including the heart, kidneys and intestinal tract … even the joints!

Brushing your dog’s teeth and providing them with dental snacks are two ways to help improve the health of teeth and gums, especially in reducing the build-up of plaque. Unfortunately, however, many pet parents find brushing frustrating, which can result in a stressful experience for pets.

Thankfully, Dr. Sarah is here to share with you the proper technique for brushing your dog’s teeth.

If dental health is a priority for you, watch this short, how-to video about dental care, so you can help your pet fight dental disease and bad breath.

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Comments (32) -

October 23. 2009 16:41

Amelia

Dr. Sarah,

This is an excellent topic.  As a pet professional for close to 40 years, I have found that pet owners are resistant to brushing their pet's teeth.  This video shows how easy it can be to make brushing teeth a regular routine. This habit can save the pet from having to undergo anesthesia to have a dental procedure done by a veterinary technician.

Thank you for this excellent pet video.

Living in the moment,

animal lover Amelia

Amelia

October 24. 2009 13:41

Rich

Hi Dr. Sarah,

This is a great start to our blogs. brushing dogs teeth have always been an area I didnt have much knowledge when asked by my customers and I appreciate the way you make it sound and look so easy. When I mention that it is important to brush your pets teeth I almost always get that "blank" look from their faces. Laughing This video will make it easier to gently convince pet owners that it isnt that difficult.

Thank you!

Rich

October 29. 2009 00:26

Gary Sundermeyer

Great job, Sarah!

I'd like to see a video on foot care; trimming nails and extra fur around the bottom of thier feet, etc.  We have 2 collies and I really could use some pointers.

Thanks!

Gary Sundermeyer

October 29. 2009 18:34

DONALD GOLD

read about the teeth brushing of pet dog teeth.  My dog Lucy came  to me as an abandoned dog after I lost my Max (westie)  Lucy was ill, had ticks, just in horrible condition including teeth.  Anyway to make long story short this was two years ago.  Well I started her on "Greenies" medium size two to three a week, and her breath is beautiful no bad breadth, my daughter-in-law who is a hygenist, said Lucy's teeth looked clean and well maintained.  Dr "Sarah" all I do is give her Greenies.  Expensive, but sure saves on suffering at cleaning time and large expense.  Lucy is in great condition (teeth that is) and everything else.  Thanks for listening.

DONALD GOLD

October 30. 2009 01:20

Linda Hess

Most vets recommend dental cleaning for your pet.   However, they want to put them to sleep.  I know there are risks to this procedure.   Do you recommend it?   Or, should I just try brushing our dogs teeth myself?

Linda Hess

October 30. 2009 07:30

Wendy Wasserman

I brush my dog's teeth every night, but he still has tarter that will need to be scraped off by the Vet.  What am I doing wrong?  

Wendy

Wendy Wasserman

October 30. 2009 12:32

Ike, Mamie, and Spottie

Thank you Dr. Sarah for sharing the video - we will no longer be frightened of the toothbrush...

Ike, Mamie, and Spottie

October 30. 2009 12:58

Karen

Wonderful, thanks for simplifying what seems like an impossible task.  Thanks, Karen

Karen

October 30. 2009 15:14

Nancy

A good video but I disagree that the outside area of the back teeth are a top priority. I think it is also important to brush the top surface of the molars. These crenallated areas get food caught in them. Also, the inside of the back molars are just as important.
It amazes me that people who claim to love their companions never brush their teeth then ostracize them for this infraction. the same happens to humans whose dental hygiene is not up to par. We all know that "human" breath  is just as malodorous.

Nancy

October 30. 2009 16:04

jo ann garmany

@ Amelia:

THANK YOU FOR THE VIDIO INFO I HAVE AHD A HAARD TIME WITH ME POODLE RUSHING HIS TEETH

jo ann garmany

October 30. 2009 16:08

jo ann garmany

THANK YOU FOR THE VIDIO ON BRUSHING TEETH I HAVE HAD A HARD TIME WITH MY POODLE HE HATES IT AND HE HATES MINT BONES YOUR INFO WAS JUST GREAT

jo ann garmany

October 30. 2009 17:15

Valerie

@ Nancy:
I for one have never had to brush my dogs teeth and the vets always comment on how clean they look and she is about 7 years old.  It is a very important topic and if you are taking the time to brush them, that is great!
I have been using HealthyPetNets products for 4 years of my dogs life ever since I found them.  I use the food, vitamins, Dental Treats, the Wet canned food, and the skin and coat.  I want my dog to get everything possible from the inside out to have very healthy gums.  The Dental Treats are great!  They have nutrition to help the gums and teeth stay as healthy as possible and they also have microdent that will coat the teeth so the tartar doesn't tend to stick.  They must really work, because my Lucy has no tartar buildup at all!

Valerie

October 30. 2009 20:16

Jill

Loved the informative video.  I just adopted a rescue dog (French Bulldog) and am going to start brushing his teeth (as well as keep him healthy and happy on Healthy Pet Net products!)  Many Thanks!

Jill

October 31. 2009 09:11

Carol

Perfect timing! I just purchased some toothpaste and finger brushes yesterday and was wondering how to go about it!
Thank you!

Carol

October 31. 2009 13:32

Corey

I began brushing Prince's teeth at a very young age. He doesn't mind it at all. He is now 3 years old and his teeth look great and no bad breath.

Corey

October 31. 2009 17:17

bonnie

@ Wendy Wasserman:

I dont think you are doing anything wrong.

Just like humans who brush twice a day and STILL see their dentist for a cleaning, my dogs visit the vet to get their teeth cleaned too.

However, I find they only need to go every other year since I too clean their teeth daily or every other day at the very least.

bonnie

November 1. 2009 13:41

Sharon

Thank you! I've really tried to get all the teeth and felt like a huge failure! Now I see that I don't have to brush as many as I thought. Thanks.

I second the request for foot care. My bulldog has lots of hair on the bottom of his feet.

The other request is for eliminating red yeast from my bullies folds on his face. He is now getting it on his feet! Help!

Sharon

November 2. 2009 16:38

John

You make it look sooo easy!

John

November 2. 2009 21:15

Sandy

That's fine when you have two good hands and can lift your dog's lip with one hand while you brush with the other.  But what do you do when you only have one hand that works well, and he won't hold  still?

Sandy

November 8. 2009 11:50

Angie Miller

Hello Dr. Sarah,
I just wanted to drop you a note to welcome you to our team.

Angie Miller

November 17. 2009 13:25

Ann Rader

Brushing teeth is an excellent way to delay the need for dental cleanings at the vet's. Thanks!

Ann Rader

November 19. 2009 10:02

Dr Sarah

@ jo ann garmany:

Thank you for your post!  If your poodle hates having his teeth brushed, maybe take a couple of weeks off, and then try again, making it super fun so that he looks forward to it.  Experiment with a couple different toothpastes, there are many flavors out there:  malt, chicken, beef, poultry, etc.  Good luck!

Dr Sarah

November 19. 2009 10:38

Dr Sarah

@ Nancy:

Thank you for your thoughtful post on our video blog.  I agree – if a pet parent can get all aspects of a dog’s teeth, then GREAT!  However, for a lot of people, that is an impossible reality, and for these guys, I say if you can get the outside of teeth, then that is better than nothing!

I did neglect to remind people to brush the outside of the canine teeth – the big, pointy teeth in the front of your dog’s mouth – this is important too!  The reason was because Buddy (my co-star) was missing his upper front canines when we rescued him from the shelter – no teeth to brush

Dr Sarah

November 19. 2009 10:46

Dr Sarah

@ Wendy Wasserman:

Thank  you for your question about brushing.  If you watched the video and are using proper technique, then you are probably not doing anything wrong.  I would hate to see your dog’s teeth if you didn’t brush!  Just like people, some dogs are more predisposed to tartar buildup and periodontal disease.  Because of their breed, jaw shape, or perhaps diet, some dogs will accumulate tartar no matter what you do.  For a pet parent with this kind of dog, check with your veterinarian to see if an annual cleaning is in order.
Best of luck to you and your fight against doggy gum disease!

Dr Sarah

December 8. 2009 22:02

 Edna


found everything very interesting and will try brushing buddy'
teeth also I would like to know what treats do you give for
also cleaning there teeth, I would also like to know about
groming Buddy nails.
thank you.Edna

Edna

April 2. 2012 01:26

Arthur Zelaya

Good work once again. I am looking forward for your next post.

Arthur Zelaya

April 4. 2012 11:45

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Patricia Fohl

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Jacelyn Wanko

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February 22. 2014 16:00

Burton Haynes

I’m impressed, I have to say. Actually hardly ever do I encounter a weblog that’s both educative and entertaining!

Burton Haynes

February 24. 2014 06:24

Issac Maez

This really answered my questions, thank you for posting!

Issac Maez

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